wordsout by godfrey rust
The sailing of the ark  < 20 of 45


God had the choice of technologies. We could
     have received
the perfect, unambiguous written Word,

no missing Hebrew vowels or doubtful
readings, no variant manuscripts, disputed authorship—

the letters clearly signed by Paul or John
(or maybe Barnabas)—translated into

every language, with second copies placed
in safe deposit in case of accidents:

but this way he has given us his commandments
without tripping us up at the first—

or should we seek out some Aaron to re-cast
the golden idol of inerrancy,

and set it up and worship it amongst
the anachronistic stones of Jericho and Ai?

Missing Hebrew vowels. The original Old Testament Hebrew texts do not include vowels, sometimes rendering their sense obscure or ambiguous.

doubtful readings In a significant number of OT passages scholars are unable to agree with any certainty on the meaning of one of more words, or the apparent meaning does not seem to make sense in the context, or letters have “dropped out” in transcription and the original meaning(s) have to be reconstructed. These are indicated by footnotes in many Bibles eg Leviticus 25:33, Numbers 12:6, 1 Samuel 17:12, Job 41:11, Psalms 58:9 etc.

The first [commandment] “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

golden idol cf Exodus 32, the story of Aaron and the golden calf.

Jericho and Ai Two of the cities of Canaan conquered by Joshua and the Israelites according to the Old Testament account. Archaeological evidence suggests that the normally accepted site of Ai (which means "ruin") had been uninhabited for as much as a thousand years at the time of its reported sacking (Joshua 8), one current theory being that the writers of Joshua confused it with Bethel; and that although Jericho (Joshua 6) had several generations of thick walls which suffered violent collapses, these too were much earlier than the Israelite conquest, and that such walls as Jericho would have had at that time were very modest fortifications, not the strong defences reportedly reduced to rubble by Joshua's sonic tactics.